All of our Taverns-To-Go are constructed using the best of quality, grade #1 pressure treated, yellow pine lumber - suitable for outdoor use all year round.  While the chemicals in pressure treated lumber prevent rot and ward off insects, they don’t prevent moisture from seeping into the wood, which over time can cause the wood to become cracked, splintered and warped. For this reason, we strongly encourage customers to seal their new bar on site after assembly – this can be achieved using an exterior grade paint or a combination stain/sealer.  Additionally, a sealer can provide UV protection to slow the rate at which your bar color fades. 

  1. Wait for the wood to fully dry out. Simply feeling the different areas on the structure will give you a good idea if the wood is dry.  Or try the "sprinkle" test described below.   
  2. Sand everything down.  Using a 120 grit sandpaper should suffice.
  3. Please note that hairline cracks do tend to appear in the wood once it dries out, this is completely normal and will not affect the structural integrity of the bar. Use wood filler to fill in any imperfections, knots or cracks.  Rub it in with your finger and sand it down once dry.   
  4. Paint or stain using a brush or paint pad applicator.  If painting, make sure to prime the wood first.  If staining the wood, make sure to choose a combination stain/seal product - there are lots available on the market today.  It’s a good idea to consider a lighter-colored stain on a new Tavern-To-Go, which gives you the flexibility of applying a darker color in the future. 
  5. For the countertops only, once they are painted or stained, finish them in a coat of polyurethane - this will help protect them from spills and stains. 



When should I stain my Tavern-To-Go?

Pressure treating uses water to force chemical preservatives deep into the wood. Recently pressure treated lumber will have a high moisture content and may take several weeks to dry. Staining pressure treated wood is ineffective if the wood is still wet.

To determine if the wood on your bar is dry enough to stain, try the “sprinkle” test. Sprinkle water on the wood: if the wood absorbs it within 10 minutes, plan to stain as soon as possible. If the water beads or pools on the wood surface, the wood needs more time to dry. 

Preparing and Applying Stain

  • Stain needs time to absorb into the wood but dries quickly, so avoid applying the stain in direct sunlight. 
  • Before applying the stain, use tarps or painter’s tape to protect surrounding areas.
  • Stir the stain thoroughly before application and pour into a paint tray. 
  • Apply the stain to a patch of wood to confirm that you like its color and appearance.
  • Stain the pressure treated wood using a paint pad applicator and/or paintbrush.  We don't recommend using a spray gun. 
  • Use caution when applying the stain to the ship lap boards to ensure overruns do not penetrate the ship lap.
  • Allow the stain to dry for at least a day. 

 How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood

Because of the pressure-treating process, exterior paint is less likely to adhere to pressure treated wood and more likely to peel. Some experts advise staining or sealing over painting, but paint can be successfully applied by following extra precautions (as per the photos some of our customers have shared). 

  • Allow the wood to dry completely and otherwise prepare the same ways you would when staining. 
  • To help the paint adhere, use a bristle brush to coat the surface with a primer designed for exterior use on pressure treated wood; 
  • Using a brush, apply at least two coats of latex paint to see best results. 

 How to Seal Pressure Treated Wood (without a stain)

  • Most exterior stains contain some sealant to protect the wood against moisture. 
  • If you want to showcase the natural wood grain and color while ensuring a higher level of protection, consider a clear sealant to protect the surface. 
  • A product that combines stain and sealer adds both protection and pigmentation, but sealants are not recommended to be used on top of stained wood. 
  • When sealing pressure treated wood, choose a product designed to be UV repellent.
  • Apply sealant using the same method to apply stain.